The dandelion gets a bad rap.
I know. It’s a weed. But it’s a nice weed. Beautiful—for a while—and it’s edible. Get your vitamins!
When I was a child, fields of yellow dandelions enchanted me. The expanse reminded me of the poppies in the Wizard of Oz movie. Once dandelions reached puffball stage in my back yard, I spent hours breaking off their stems one at a time, examining the milk inside, blowing on the puffballs, and watching them sail away in the wind. Delightful.
My father didn’t agree.
As I grew older, Dad had me weed the lawn by digging up the dandelions I had helped plant the year before. I doubt I ever succeeded in pulling out the entire root of even one flower. Those taproots would not—let—go. I ended up with dozens of holes in the yard where a happy little plant soon sprouted once again.
Other beautiful weeds, I’m not so thrilled about.
I had to learn the hard way. Twice. And this happened well beyond childhood!
One summer, I noticed tiny, wild strawberries growing under our hedge surrounding the patio. How charming. I popped a bright red berry in my mouth. A little tart, but the sparrows loved them. Two summers later, those vines had begun to choke the mature hedge! Since underground runners spread in every direction, no amount of weeding got rid of them. We finally sprayed the area with a pesticide that wouldn’t hurt the hedge. The sparrows seem to have forgiven me.
A couple of years ago, I noticed small purple flowers dotting our lawn. When the lawn care company came to spray for dandelions (alas, my husband likes dandelions even less than my father), the guy told me those innocent purple flowers were wild violets. And he proceeded to spray them to death.
The next year, those precious little violets returned. They’d even managed to seed themselves along the border of my flowerbed adjacent to the front walk. Good, I thought. The lawn care guy never sprays my flowers. I’ll have a beautiful, purple border.
Well, they got a little rambunctious. I had to pull them away from the asters. Easy to do. The roots were shallow.
This year, they didn’t stay little. They nearly strangled my lilies. They needed some tough love. As I dug into the earth to completely remove them from the flowerbed, I realized they had runners heading everywhere. Just like the strawberries.
I will be discussing my options with the lawn care guy.
Not all weeds are equal.
And not all behaviors glorify God. If I were to grow in faith the same way a wild violet grows, I would be running amok. Sure, I’d be sharing Christ with every person I met, with no sense of discrimination in handling the various personalities and lifestyles unique to each of them. My fruit would be tart, and the beauty I had to share would grow unwieldy, choking off the sustenance of the true Word of God. If times got tough, my shallow roots would be easily yanked out by the enemy.
But if I could grow like a dandelion?
I would bloom in the sunshine of God’s love and share that beauty with others. My roots in the Word would grow deep. People who didn’t want to hear the Gospel could cut me off, but they couldn’t kill my solidly-anchored taproot. I would be tenacious and sprout once again.
Like the dandelion, my faith could provide sustenance to anyone who wanted it. And as I grew old, the flower might fade, but the mature puffball would be full of life-giving seeds, and I would be the spiritual mother of many new and beautiful flowers. Maybe an entire field of them.
Yes. I want to be a dandelion.